Participatory Disability Grantmaking

Click here for a transcript of this webinar.

With more than one billion disabled people across the globe, disability is far from a niche issue. Yet philanthropy continues to overlook and underfund work connected to disability inclusion rights, and justice. A key strategy to change this is participatory grantmaking–an approach that centers the insights and guidance of communities directly impacted by a foundation’s funding priorities. To meaningfully implement this approach, philanthropy must intentionally share decision-making power with the disability community, which will in turn strengthen our efforts to pursue equity. 

During this learning session, attendees will have the opportunity to learn from disability advocates serving on participatory grantmaking committees and to engage with colleagues in open conversation about disability-inclusive grantmaking practices. Topics covered include:

  • Concrete actions funders take to make the grantmaking process more inclusive and accessible to the disability community
  • Navigating the funder/grantee relationship without perpetuating hierarchy or the idea of needing to “perform” for funding  
  • Why participatory grantmaking is so valuable for truly disability-inclusive philanthropy 
  • How to meaningfully incorporate a disability lens throughout grantmaking programs and address the significant underfunding of disability inclusion, rights, and justice.

About the Panelists

A white woman with curly brown hair wearing glasses and a black and red floral top.

Moderator: Emily Ladau, Digital Content and Community Manager, Disability & Philanthropy Forum

Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, and storyteller. She serves as the Digital Content and Community Manager for the Disability & Philanthropy Forum. Emily’s writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and her first book, Demystifying Disability, was published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in 2021. Emily has spoken before audiences from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to her work is harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.

Headshot of Keidra Chaney

Panelist: Keidra Chaney, Advocate serving on the Disability Inclusion Fund 2021-2022 Grantmaking Committee, Borealis Philanthropy

Keidra Chaney is Digital Engagement and Accessibility Manager at National Network of Abortion Funds and a freelance writer. As a communications professional, writer, and educator, she endeavors to create equitable, just, and safe online environments for marginalized people. She is a 2020 Disability Lead Fellow and served as a 2021 member of the Borealis Philanthropy Disability Inclusion Fund Grantmaking Committee.

Keidra holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She started her publishing career as an editor for award-winning movement publication Clamor Magazine. More recently, she worked with the Citizen Engagement Lab’s Cultural Pulse Project, connecting nonprofits and organizers with online communities to organize for social change through pop culture storytelling. Her writing has been featured in The Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Reader, Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, Uncanny Magazine, Prism, and other publications.

Headshot of Katie Murphy

Panelist: Katie Murphy, Co-Chair of the WITH Foundation’s Self-Advocate Advisory Committee

Katie Murphy (M.A., Women and Gender Studies) is an autistic self-advocate, union activist, and higher education professional.

An alum of the Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Leadership Academy, Katie uses her institutional privilege to engage directly with funders, serving on the WITH Foundation’s Self-Advocacy Advisory Committee and the Stakeholder Advisory Group of Ability Central.

A proud member of the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU), Katie serves as a union steward, chapter officer, and bargaining unit council member. She also chairs the CSUEU’s Disability Constituency Group.

While pursuing her Masters, Katie worked as a student assistant at the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. She has since ascended (literally, she works one floor above the Longmore Institute) to the role of Academic Office Coordinator in the Department of Communication Studies, where she does things with spreadsheets. Katie actively engages in shared governance by sitting on the All-University Committee on Students, Faculty, and Staff with Disabilities; serving on search committees; and, on an ad hoc basis, telling the faculty and administration when they are wrong. In that respect, she finds the work indescribably fulfilling.

Headshot of Kerry Thompson

Panelist: Kerry Thompson, Inclusion & Accessibility Development Manager, Disability Rights Fund

Kerry Thompson is the Inclusion & Accessibility Development Manager for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. In this role, Kerry develops the accessibility policies and practices of DRF/DRAF for internal stakeholders and grantees and leads efforts to demonstrate and promote to donors and others how accessibility is key to inclusion, using DRF/DRAF policies and practices as a model. As the first hire after the founding executive director in 2008, Kerry has been a key player in the start, growth, and evolution of the organization over the last 14 years.

Kerry brings more than twenty years of combined experience in accessibility, analytics, business, communications, finance, and grants management for the academic, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors. She is a 2014 Marshall Memorial Fellow with the German Marshall Fund. She serves as the Executive Director for Silent Rhythms Inc., a non-profit she founded that promotes access to the arts and in society for people with disabilities. She was named a 2020 Visiting Artist to Harvard University’s Dance Center.  Kerry also serves as Commissioner on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Vice-Chair on the Massachusetts Statewide Advisory Council and on the New England Foundations for the Arts (NEFA) Advisory Council. Kerry holds a Master’s from Harvard University.